Breakfast with Thom Gunn

Breakfast with Thom GunnRandall Mann (MFA, 1997)

University of Chcago Press, 2009
ISBN: 9780226503448

Randall Mann’s Breakfast with Thom Gunn is a work both direct and unsettling. Haunted by the afterlife of Thom Gunn (1929–2004), one of the most beloved gay literary icons of the twentieth century, the poems are moored in Florida and California, but the backdrop is “pitiless,” the trees “thin and bloodless,” the words “like the icy water” of the San Francisco Bay. Mann, fiercely intelligent, open yet elusive, draws on the “graceful erosion” of both landscape and the body, on the beauty that lies in unbeauty. With audacity, anxiety, and unbridled desire, this gifted lyric poet grapples with dilemmas of the gay self embroiled in – and aroused by – a glittering, unforgiving subculture. Breakfast with Thom Gunn is at once formal and free, forging a sublime integrity in the fire of wit, intensity, and betrayal.